He's happy because he gets Christmas Day off. Thanks, industrial action! - Michael Regan
Because of a hectic holiday schedule, GBU and MOTM join forces to form a completely unsayable acronym. MOTMGBU!
Three more points in the bag, Arsenal ensconced in third place - albeit level on points with a couple other teams and in third only on goal difference - and after a non-vintage performance, to boot. Thanks to all of our various holiday commitments this weekend, posting will be a bit light through Tuesday, and this post will serve as both Man Of The Match and Good/Bad/Ugly. Let's get to it! Them! Whatever!
First off, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
GOOD: Arsenal took three points on a day when they weren't firing on all cylinders. They played well enough in spots, but they were inconsistent; still, this is a game they would have lost a month ago, and while I'm not thrilled with a 1-0 scoreline in which the goal came off a penalty, it was a workmanlike performance and it got the job done.
BAD: One of the spots in which Arsenal didn't play well was the last 15 minutes. In that time they struggled to hold on to the ball, and gave it away very cheaply on more than one occasion. Against a better team, that sort of carelessness will be punished; they just about got away with it today. Also, Walcott; the penalty wasn't as bad as Cazorla's, but it was fairly soft and I can see why people would be upset about it.
UGLY: Arsenal's still seemingly unable to kill a game off at will. This blends with the bad a little bit, but had Arsenal locked things down early in the second half, it wouldn't have been an issue. Arsenal need to understand when they're in control of a game and make sure their opponents don't get back in, and they just barely managed that today.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. In a game where nobody really shone, Ox played a very solid game, and he had a shot well saved in the first half. He passed well, he was always in dangerous positions, and he kept a cool head when the rest of his team were floundering (edit: until he was subbed out in the last 15 minutes or so).
As mentioned, posting will be sporadic/nonexistent probably from now until Wednesday, as we all celebrate Christmas or just take some time off and spend it with our families. We hope you and yours have a great holiday; we don't thank you often enough for making this the most awesome place to talk about Arsenal on the internet, but it is, and that's largely because of you. Thanks for reading, thanks for being a part of TSF, have a great holiday, and we'll resume a more normal posting schedule post-Tuesday.